Presented in Association with the San Francisco Goethe Institute
Hellmuth Costard was studying psychology when he began filmmaking as a member of the University of Hamburg Film and Television Work Group. He made his first film, Tom Ist Doof, in 1965, and achieved instant notoriety in 1968 when his film Besonders Wertvoll (Of Special Merit) was excluded from the Oberhausen Short Film Festival on the grounds of obscenity. The ten-minute film consisted of a penis-head reciting the newly-enacted 1967 Film Law (morality clause) while being stroked to climax by a female hand, and the subsequent uproar (16 of the 32 invited filmmakers withdrew their films in protest of Costard's censorship) variously provoked the press to identify him as “der kleine Godard” (the little Godard) and “enfant terrible” of the New German Cinema. Since then his work has included production of a children's book and collaboration on a children's television series as well as development of innovative super 8 camera systems. His most recent feature-length film, Der Kleine Godard, which he shot on his own super 8 system, received the German Film Critics' Prize for Best German Film of 1978.